Around 130 students in Lincoln have been caught without a TV License this year. Not having one if you need it is a serious thing and it can cost you up to £1000 in fines!
So do you need one? Let’s find out. First, though, let’s find out what it actually is.
What is a TV License?
Ultimately, it’s your right to watch TV for a year. You buy it (it’s £145.50 for a colour one. You can get a black and white one for £49 but let’s be honest, why would you?) then you can watch tv.
It’s what funds the BBC but don’t fall into the trap of thinking you don’t need it because you never watch BBC channels.
Years ago, there were adverts with vans driving down the street that could apparently detect people watching a TV without a license. There were rumours that they were so accurate, they could even work out what room of the house you were in. They were probably nonesense but the government are very good at finding you if you don’t have one. Ask one of the 130 students that have been caught so far this year!
Do I need one?
Do you watch TV as it’s broadcast? Yes? You need one. Sorry.
Do you watch TV on your phone, MP3 player, laptop, computer or etch-a-sketch AT THE SAME TIME as it’s being shown on TV? Yes? Bad news, you need one. Sorry again.
Now, here’s the clincher… If you NEVER watch TV as it’s being broadcast – either on your laptop, phone, MP3 player or tablet computer… ONLY if you NEVER do it, like EVER, then you don’t need a TV License. Well done.
Things like Netflix or YouTube (or, er, other video streaming sites) are ok. You don’t need a TV license to watch them. As long as what you’re watching is on demand. If it’s live and being shown on TV anywhere in the UK, you’ll need a license I’m afraid. Nightmare.
Now, this is confusing but bare with… some landlords pay for TV Licenses for their tennants. This costs them quite a bit so they will definitely have bragged about it. If your landlord hasn’t specifically told you that you already have a TV license, you’ll still need to buy one. It’s your responsibility to check!
Ok, I need one, but I don’t want to pay it. ‘cos why should I?
It’s the law. Sorry.
Granted, it’s not the crime of the century – you probably won’t even make it onto the news. But you will get a fine. It can be up to a £1000. Think of all the bottles of Tesco’s own brand vodka you could have bought for that! (83. I worked it out for you).
Hooray! I don’t need one!
Yay. Go you. You’ve saved some money. You haven’t saved much hassle, though, because you still need to tell them you don’t need one. RUBBISH. You can tell them here.
Once you’ve told them, someone might ring you to ask a few questions. Don’t be rude to them. The questions can be quite annoying but they’re only doing their job.
Fine, I’ll pay for it.
Go you. You’re a model citizen. You can pay them here. Reward yourself with a responsible sized beverage, followed by a litre of water. You know, just to be on the safe side.